28 December 2015

Kitchen for a New Year

For the last kitchen to be featured in 2015, I searched for something slightly fabulous and forward-looking. Hopefully, this space in a renovated manor house fits the bill. It has the requisite glitter factor, with polished brass topping the counter and lining the gem-faceted cooking alcove. A few golden pendant lights drip downward; the way they attach to the ceiling reminds me of pierced earrings. There is a bit of photographic trickery at work here—it has collapsed the very long room into a seemingly small space. thomaskroeger.net

We Interrupt This Blog...

 ...to announce the results of the 2015 KBCULTURE Awards! Of the many impressive products in this year's entry pool, these are the ones that passed the critical muster of our jury. From cabinets and cooking appliances to tubs and tile, enjoy perusing the honorees.

23 December 2015

Christmas Countdown, Day 3

Tomorrow night, kids around the world [and NORAD] will be scanning the skies for flying reindeer. Designed by Dima Loginoff, the Mountain View pendant light captures a bit of the topography that Santa and company might soar over. The 'mountain' that forms the diffuser in the hand-crafted fixture can be had in amber or grey, in addition to clear glass. axolight.it

22 December 2015

Christmas Countdown, Day 2

In celestial matters...This year, Star Wars is definitely encroaching on the season that was once ruled by the Little Star of Bethlehem. Fans of the Dark Side might appreciate finding this Darth Vader hand-shower under the Christmas tree. Eerily, water streams out of various Vader facial features in three spray patterns. oxygenics.com

21 December 2015

Christmas Countdown

Perhaps it's not quite a heavenly peace, but I think this Milan kitchen does supply sufficient serenity to qualify as a refuge from the holiday rush. Inky blue walls set off the austere, altar-like expanse of brass cabinets. While the arched ceiling is more of a chapel scale than a cathedral, it still has overtones of sanctity—in a secular sense. dimorestudio.eu

18 December 2015

A Hot Holiday

This 1953 refrigerator isn't the only thing that's frost-free. This almost-winter of 2015 has been remarkably mild, too. In fact, the forecast for Christmas day is a warm 68°F. I wish Santa the best in his upcoming excursion, but he might want to look into alternative transportation—it doesn't look like optimal sleigh weather.

16 December 2015

X-Ray Eyed

This light-permeable concrete could be used in all sorts of creative ways in the kitchen or bath—I'd fancy a shower enclosure made of it, or a backsplash panel. Tiny pores allow natural light to filter through the material for a subtle yet surprising look; for a more pronounced effect, thread-like fiber optics can light up the surface. The strength and water-repellent quality of the material is uncompromised. luccon.com

15 December 2015

Hands Up!

Looking very much like the vitrines that fitted out rural general stores of the pre-Walmart era, these round-top cabinets are an imaginative alternative to the usual box-on-the-wall model. I'm guessing if the lift-up doors are hard to reach when open, automatic closing hardware can be installed. scavolini.com

14 December 2015


Converted from a former classroom, this kitchen is certainly spacious—in height and area, as well. It's hardly a squeeze to fit a dining table and seating for six into the space. Even more appealing than its size is the way the color palette has been developed. It's fascinating to me that the natural oak floor is the lightest plane in the room; it must have something to do with bouncing the natural light around the space. oscarproperties.com

11 December 2015

A Vision in Salmon

Wrap-around towel bars, private WC, a tub with built-in seating—this post-war bath pulled out all the stops in its attempt to capture amenity-starved consumers. The rambling floorplan might make using the room a bit of a scramble, but fortunately there are cushy stools placed throughout the space, providing convenient resting spots from which to appreciate the 'modern' color palette.

10 December 2015

Dust [Et Cetera], Busted

In the [Saint] nick of time for the flour-filled mess that is holiday baking comes this built-in kitchen vacuum. Sweep crumbs and dirt toward the opening of the toekick-mounted unit, and they're efficiently suctioned away into a vacuum bag. poggenpohl.com

09 December 2015

Making Space

Height-adjustable kitchen counters are nothing new, and, truth be told, perhaps not that useful. But everyone is interested in expanding counter space, and this new design feature can do just that.

This countertop can slide up to 12 inches in different directions, either perpendicular to the cabinet or diagonally off its corner at a 45-degree angle. Knee-space is created when the movable portion of the work surface is fully extended, allowing a stool or two to be tucked away beneath it. haecker-kuechen.de

08 December 2015

Factory Modeled

The Hopes windows—from the standard-setting manufacturer of steel-framed doors and windows that form the shower enclosure in this bath—give the industrial-themed design an edge when it comes to authenticity. The black marble topping the the bench is more of a genteel gesture, but as the true nature of the room is residential [it's in a farmhouse], that's just fine with me. markfinlay.com

07 December 2015

Peace-Keeping Kitchen

Between the hype[r] holidays and the near-daily, wrenching violence in the world, a lot of folks are understandably anxious. Spending time in the calming Kalea kitchen might help one mentally regroup. The sloped ceiling reaches gently down toward the room; no flat lid encloses the space. Floating the wall cabinets well above the floor further frees the room—if not its occupants. cesar.it

04 December 2015

C'est Bon!

A jumble of fresh ingredients [leeks, cabbage, and what appears to be either a lobster or a napping dachshund] and two considerably-sized pots on the flame [kerosine, not gas]—I'd strike a pose of celebration, too. It had to be a challenge in 1930 to cook under such limiting conditions. The apparatus that passed for a stove posed a modest danger of exploding, but also held the promise of succès, too.

03 December 2015

Together and Apart

This clever storage concept addresses a pet peeve of mine: the uninspired end of a run of cabinets. Not only is this design functionally versatile, but the wine rack, drawer module, and shelving are rendered in wood, setting it all off nicely from the adjoining unassuming kitchen. warendorf.com

02 December 2015

Top This

I see this week's posts are setting a spontaneous theme....

Surely the gallery-white design of this kitchen is no accident. The wooden countertop is a work of natural and man-made art. It's a shame the cooktop isn't compatible with the composition. Perhaps the slab would be better displayed as a backsplash? sachsenkuechen.de

01 December 2015

On and Of the Edge

Susceptible to fire, disease, and a certain red-headed bird, wood is a vulnerable natural material. Perhaps that's at the root of its appeal to me—unlike stone, it is not permanent. This thick slab, with its subtle imperfections of texture and pattern, is a wonderful contrast to the uniformity of the concrete-coated cabinet doors. leicht.com

30 November 2015

For the Wish List

This detail from the Loft kitchen—an industrial strength chopping block, built into the stone-topped island—would have likely been in constant use in many kitchens last week. Beautifully crafted and eminently practical, my only suggestion is to make it larger. team7.at

27 November 2015

Thanks + Giving, The End

Floating around the Internet, there's a Photoshopped version of this 1948 ad: In it, by strategically deleting a few letters from the headline, the new range from Norge has become an 'atomic' appliance, rather than an 'automatic' one. The protons and neutrons still orbit the turkey, though. 
Now if you'll excuse me, dear readers, I'm going to nuke some leftovers and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.

26 November 2015

Thanks + Giving, Day 4

At the risk of stating the obvious, artist Robert Therrien's super-sized explorations of domestic objects have a particular significance today. This towering, nine-foot-tall stack of pots and pans is a hallucinogenic-sized representation of the scene in most American kitchens today.

Happy Thanksgiving! gagosian.com

25 November 2015

Thanks + Giving, Day 3

And what, you might ask, do rectangular aluminum containers have to do with Thanksgiving? There is, of course, an answer to the question. They're a dishwasher accessory, designed to protect sterling silverware flatware from damaging oxidation; using them, it's possible to skip hand-washing the countless place settings that will cover tomorrow's table. thermador.com

24 November 2015

Thanks + Giving, Day 2

While this microwave isn't quite yet available, by the time Thanksgiving 2016 rolls around it could well be an indispensable asset in the kitchen. In addition to the usual array of cooking modes, this 900-watt appliance can act as a warming drawer for up to 90 minutes. I'm excited by the drop-down door—a convenient and space-saving design detail. subzero-wolf.com

23 November 2015

Thanks + Giving

Later this week, kitchens—and their resident cooks—will be cranked up to maximum output to celebrate the holiday of and for stuffing. With a pro-calibre range and fridge, pot filler, and no-nonsense storage, this modern yet gracious room has what it takes to make it through the big day. darrylcarter.com

20 November 2015


Now, this 1895 contraption would come in handy this week, when we might want to decompress a bit. Just take a seat in the steam tent, pop your head out the top, and let the world's troubles melt away.

Wishful thinking....

19 November 2015


Subdued yet striking in color and form, this hand-carved stone tile is soothingly abstract. The Ziva Lotus pattern is suitable for use on walls. artistictile.com

18 November 2015

A Pause

Today, I'm setting aside the world of kitchens and baths. It's time for reflection. Tomorrow, we'll resume the gentle pursuit of beauty.

17 November 2015


I'm going to take things slow this week; it's time to contemplate the quiet and the still in life. The lighting in this Japanese bath—set in a century-old onsen, or hot springs spa—is calming. Architect Kengo Kuma summons all the senses in his design for this retreat. kkaa.co.jp

16 November 2015

Nous Sommes Unis

Attending a concert. Enjoying a meal. Such cultural pursuits are integral to France's identity, a fact that imbues the recent horrific events with an even greater dimension of pain.

This is the OpenLine kitchen, a Parisian design. perene.fr

13 November 2015

Coming Clean

Coincidentially, we happen to be in the market for a new washer. Having started the shopping process, I'm happy to report that today's laundry machines bear little resemblance to those of the 1950s. If I had to confront the Dispensomat and its array of detergent orifices on a regular basis, I think I'd go nuts in short order; five portals for soaps and softeners seems a bit much, don't you think?

12 November 2015

Not a Dead End

Typically, the end of a cabinet is either bleak and empty or blandly appointed with a shelving module. Here, all manner of seams and slices make an architectural composition out of the unit. I love how the connection between the carcass and the legs is detailed. binova.it

11 November 2015

Natural Evolution

Unlike the last couple of years, when the trees dropped all their leaves virtually overnight, this autumn the process has been gradual. It's been rewarding to observe the green-red-yellow-orange-brown transition over time. These handmade tiles make permanent what is by nature a transitory episode. johnnewdigate.com

10 November 2015

Table, Mannered

With Thanksgiving coming up on the calendar, thoughts turn to food [will there be enough?] and furniture [how many chairs?]. The Continuum table, with its integral overhead lighting, would be welcome at any dinner, whether everyday or holiday. Matteo Nunziati designed the piece. natevo.com

09 November 2015


It's been a while since I've seen a bi-level island; dining tables in the kitchen have been the Thing as of late. This design reminds me of how useful they can be, especially in small rooms. Overhead, echoing the split-top work surface, is a faceted lighting fixture. Taken together, these two angular elements give a sense of movement to this otherwise static space. zana.fr

06 November 2015

Pride of Place—and Perspective

In 1936, this 'fashion-thrift' floor was a cautious overture to homeowners who had weathered the worst of the Great Depression. Doubtless looking forward to spiffing up the house after enduring some lean years, a colorful linoleum floor would boost both spirits and property values. I'm struck by the modesty of the kitchen's cabinets and appliances; as prosperity returned, perhaps they, too, would be upgraded.

05 November 2015

Going Undercover

The convenience of shelves in the shower is undeniable; the visual clutter they often collect is another thing altogether. So, for the fastideous among us, I present this built-in, quasi-cabinet design. A soft-close door, finished to match the surrounding wall, flips down to keep toiletries out of sight. LEDs can light up the cavity, if you desire. jacobdelafon.fr

04 November 2015

Not-So-Basic Black

What an Armani jacket is to prêt-á-porter, this carbon fiber-clad range is to black-enameled appliances. It's offered in a limited edition of 150, with a choice of stainless steel trim or the dark smoked treatment seen above. Another parallel to couture fashion: the price. As they say, if you have to ask, you can't afford it [Here's a hint: It's more than $61,000 and less than $63,000]. A hot ticket, indeed. lacornueusa.com

03 November 2015

Making a Mark

On this election day, featuring a toilet has some resonance—to date, many of the would-be presidential candidates have staged campaigns that should be flushed away. But I digress.

The Serenity stands out from other commodes through a defining black swipe. That border visually separates the bowl from the wall, so the fixture is no longer an ambiguous porcelain protrusion from the plane. zevalife.com

02 November 2015

As You Like It

The design of this kitchen blends custom work with back-to-basic modules. A standardized cabinet frame can be clad in the customer's choice of woods or tiles. Add a sink and fittings and a cooktop, and you're good to go. [If you opt for the wheeled unit, you can literally go—the kitchens can be used outdoors or indoors.] bertandmaykitchens.com

29 October 2015

Haunting Design, Day 4

It's alive! The rippling pattern that emerges [or does it disappear?] from the murky depths of the Twist tiles seems slightly supernatural. To me, the whorled symmetry of the lines suggests a menacing storm system. normandy-ceramics.com

28 October 2015

Haunting Design, Day 3

If one wanted to put tricksters in their place during this scare-filled season, switching out the familiar front door hardware for this bony lever would do the job. Imagine the horror of standing on a stranger's porch, grasping Faye Toogood's skeletal door handle design in the dark.

The stuff of nightmares, indeed. ize.info

27 October 2015

Haunting Design, Day 2

The unblinking owls of the Ti Vedo [Italian for 'I see you'] wall fixture could be friendly...or have foul [ahem] play in mind, their orange eyes inscrutably glowing. Designed by Matteo Ugolini for Karman, the ceramic lights have a beguiling mid-century vibe. globallighting.com

26 October 2015

Haunting Design

Let this black-as-midnight kitchen begin the countdown to Halloween. Drained of color and devoid of any lively detail, it's a space that would delight any denizen of the dark side. cphsquare.dk

23 October 2015

Changing Colors

Although it's late October, the leaves remain doggedly green. Nature keeps its own calendar.

I wonder how things might look if we were able to customize the trees similar to the way—more correctly, the 329 ways—that owners of Amana refrigerators could redo their appliances in 1966. Forests would be filled with prints, patterns, and hues of a most unnatural sort.

Could be interesting.

22 October 2015

Prep, Schooled

When brothers [and chefs] Johannes and Joseph Schreiter applied German standards of efficiency to the French practice of mise en place, the result is the Frankfurter Brett. Both elevated and flush with the heavy duty cutting board, ingredient bins abound; they can be detached or repositioned as desired. Offered in three sizes, the Brett ["board"] is so substantial and serviceable that I'm inclined to consider it an appliance, rather than a mere culinary accessory. [Fun fact: The Schreiters named this invention after the seminal kitchen design of the early twentieth century.] frankfurter-brett.de

21 October 2015

Plain and Fancy

A crude cube of concrete is quite the contrast to the baroque wall in the background. Juxtaposing modern and historic motifs is an old trick, but often effective. I think that keeping the color and materials palettes contained is the key, as this bathroom shows.

20 October 2015

From the Future

Despite the Audi marque, this is not an automotive accessory. What looks like a wheel rim has a dual function: Placing one's hands inside the ring activates a spray of water, as well as a black light that eradicates surface bacteria. Fraser Leid is the designer behind the Hudor faucet, which, understandably, remains a concept study. coroflot.com/fraserleid/profile

19 October 2015

Hot and Cold

Over the weekend, a bewildering—at least for this locale—mix of meteorological conditions passed our way. While on a hike to admire the fall foliage, snow and sun simultaneously filled the sky. And so this kitchen, with its warm copper vent hood set among arctic-white cabinets, is a fitting post for today.

16 October 2015

Every Picture Tells a Story

As citizens of the modern world, we're inured to seamless technology; today, version 2.0, tomorrow, V3. But in 1972, seeing was believing when it came to matters scientific. Industrial X-rays were used to prove the efficacy of this Hotpoint burner coil. The photo itself is remarkable. I wish the artistry of advertising would make a comeback in our abbreviated, hashtag world.

15 October 2015

Stepping Up

Oh, yes. While the ambiance of this bath is admirable, it's the practical details that I think make the space so successful. One: Elevating the tub filler. Awkward when it grows out of the floor—its base and verticality are often obscured—installing it up on a step below the tub gives the fitting a sculptural prominence. Two: The small, slatted-wood platform back in the corner of the room. Not just an echo of material, it's a place to drip-dry or towel off without risking a slip on the smooth floor. elfcreators.com